Dangers of Radium lime
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  1. #1
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    Dangers of Radium lime

    Could anyone tell me if any watch wearer was seriously irradiated wearing a radium lumed watch?
    I imagine most of the danger was to the watch makers.
    Also, is there any danger to vintage watch wearers? When was radium phased out as luminescence?
    Thank you watch fiends!


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  2. #2
    Member Barge's Avatar
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    The watch is probably ok, but stay well away from the lime.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    Something about the upside-down-margaritas I had in college made me sick, pretty sure it was the radium lime.
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    A single radium lume watch isn't going to give off enough radiation to cause harm. Getting radium paint inside of you could be harmful, so refrain from licking the dial. Now, a warehouse packed full of radium watches might be enough to be a concern...

    Radium dials that no longer glow are still about as radioactive as when new, given the half life of radium. The luminescence has faded because the phosphor in the paint has broken down, not because the radium has faded. A fresh application of phosphor will restore the glow.
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    Member Charlie1888's Avatar
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    The auto-correction got you. Lol.

    Would advise against wearing on old radium lumed watch. I couldn't afford this one anyway...

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  7. #6
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    Don't worry about wearing a watch with radium lume, there is no health risk for wearers. The grim reputation is due to radium dial painters having higher rates of bone cancer than average.
    The painters would lick the brush and actually ingest the radium paint, causing the health issues. One of my lecturers on the biological effects of radiation actually studied this subject and once dial painters were instructed to stop licking the paint brushes the health effects stopped for those who started after this change.

    The dose from wearing a radium watch is very small. Radium primarily emits alpha particle which have a very short range, they couldn't penetrate tissue paper so they are not going to get through a watch case. The range of alpha particles is so short it only causes health effects if ingested.
    Some gamma particles are emitted but the biological effect is ~ 20 times less. This is what is measured by the Geiger counter in the image above but since it is set to alpha emitter setting it is over estimating the dose by at least a factor of 8.
    Also the measurement is from the crystal, however your arm is on the other side so the relevant dose is that at the case-back, once you consider the rapid falloff in dose with distance and the shielding by the dial, case back and movement the dose would be further reduced.
    Combined with the high radiation resistance of your skin, hands and arms the effective dose is below legislated requirements for the public which are extremely conservative and far below the levels at which harm would occur.
    Last edited by Dpeukert; May 5th, 2019 at 09:08.

  8. #7
    Member WIS_Chronomaster's Avatar
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    Cool.




  9. #8
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    well played

  10. #9
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    Quote Originally Posted by A2MI View Post
    Could anyone tell me if any watch wearer was seriously irradiated wearing a radium lumed watch?
    I imagine most of the danger was to the watch makers.
    Also, is there any danger to vintage watch wearers? When was radium phased out as luminescence?
    Thank you watch fiends!


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    Just type "radium" in the search box. Tons of threads already on this. Here's a few:
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/ra...h-2441738.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/vi...e-4935237.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f10/co...m-4659477.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/ra...g-4735359.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f6/uni...e-4863977.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/ra...s-4802139.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f71/ra...s-4598835.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/rad...e-4542139.html
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f10/do...s-4464866.html

  11. #10
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    Re: Dangers of Radium lime

    Stop licking the dial...okay, good point!


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